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Overexpression of the Escherichia coli catalase gene, katE, enhances tolerance to salinity stress in the transgenic indica rice cultivar, BR5

  • Moriwaki, Teppei (Department of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture) ;
  • Yamamoto, Yujirou (Department of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture) ;
  • Aida, Takehiko (Department of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture) ;
  • Funahashi, Tatsuya (Department of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture) ;
  • Shishido, Toshiyuki (Department of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture) ;
  • Asada, Masataka (Department of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture) ;
  • Prodhan, Shamusul Haque (Department of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture) ;
  • Komamine, Atsushi (The Research Institute of Evolutionary Biology) ;
  • Motohashi, Tsuyoshi (Department of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture)
  • Received : 2007.05.17
  • Accepted : 2007.12.07
  • Published : 2008.04.30

Abstract

Salinity stress is a major limiting factor in cereal productivity. Many studies report improvements in salt tolerance using model plants, such as Arabidopsis thaliana or standard varieties of rice, e.g., the japonica rice cultivar Nipponbare. However, there are few reports on the enhancement of salt tolerance in local rice cultivars. In this work, we used the indica rice (Oryza sativa) cultivar BR5, which is a local cultivar in Bangladesh. To improve salt tolerance in BR5, we introduced the Escherichia coli catalase gene, katE. We integrated the katE gene into BR5 plants using an Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated method. The introduced katE gene was actively expressed in the transgenic BR5 rice plants, and catalase activity in $T_1$ and $T_2$ transgenic rice was approximately 150% higher than in nontransgenic plants. Under NaCl stress conditions, the transgenic rice plants exhibited high tolerance compared with nontransgenic rice plants. $T_2$ transgenic plants survived in a 200 mM NaCl solution for 2 weeks, whereas nontransgenic plants were scorched after 4 days soaking in the same NaCl solution. Our results indicate that the katE gene can confer salt tolerance to BR5 rice plants. Enhancement of salt tolerance in a local rice cultivar, such as BR5, will provide a powerful and useful tool for overcoming food shortage problems.